Cool temperatures and a steady drizzle dampened the start of The 7th Annual Skechers Distance Festival at the Furman University Track Saturday morning. Forty runners, comprised mostly of high school and collegiate athletes, braved out the clammy conditions that were hardly conducive to track competition. Along with the main sponsor, Skechers, the event was hosted by the Greenville Running Company, Spartanburg Methodist College (SMC) and Go-GreenEvents.com which just recently celebrated its third year of providing online event registration and timing.
In the 800 meters, Travelers Rest senior, Jordan Ferguson (8th place in the South Carolina 3A final last year) took the early lead and held on for the win over SMC freshman, Calin Schumacher, in 2:05.2. In the female division, SMC sophomore, Jessica Monte, edged out Ashley Barker in a time of 2:45.1.
The most hotly contested event of the day was in the Male 3200 meters. SMC freshman, Zaid Smart edged out Austin Steagall of Gaffney (owner of multiple SMC distance records) in 9:33.9 (4:48/mile pace). Catie Byrd was the top female finisher in the eight lap race (12:59.7).
By the start of the meet’s third event, the seldom run 2000 meter steeplechase, the rain had all but ceased leaving behind a sopping array of puddles around the track. Sango Asante of Stratford High School in the South Carolina low country breezed his way to victory in 6:27.0 (5:11/mile pace).
In the Mile, Daniel High School’s Matthew Geer was the overall winner in 4:44.1 while fellow teammate, Taylor Norden, took first in the female division with a 6:21.8 clocking.
For most of these athletes, this was the first outdoor meet of the year as runners begin to make the transition from the indoor season and from several months of downtime following the fall cross county season. Look for SMC to appear in more upcoming meets with Track and Field not recognized as an official NJCAA sport at the private college starting in 2013-2014.
Complete results and photos can be seen at http://sc.milesplit.com/meets/134509-skechers-distance-festival.
The next notable meet at Furman University will be the annual Furman Blue Shoes Invitational scheduled for April 13th http://sc.milesplit.com/meets/131686-furman-blue-shoes-invitational